Handicap yourself to improve your performance: When we think about improvement we typically think of giving ourselves every possible advantage. However, one of the best ways to improve your overall performance levels is to deliberately handicap yourself in training and take away your advantages so that you can build up other, weaker aspects of your game that will be of great benefit in the future. Take the example of Nick Rodriguez. He is built like a titan and moves like a leopard. On any given day in the basement there may be only or three people even close to his size and no one with his overall physicality. If wanted, he could simply overwhelm 95% of his training partners in on physicality alone. That however, would mean zero technical improvement over time – just the same workout and results every day until he got bored. Instead, he intelligently handicaps himself by starting in compromised positions and toned down the use of his speed and strength so that he can practice the refinement of his technique and make technical progress. His intelligent approach to training paid off in the ADCC heavyweight division. In our training room he is always the biggest in the room – but in the heavyweight division his first opponent towered over him and outweighed him by around 30-40 pounds. His second opponent outweighed him by almost a hundred pounds. In his battle to the finals he had to defeat a Jiu Jitsu world champion and two former ADCC champions – all bigger or at least same size as he – an incredible task. If he had just run over all his smaller partners in the gym he never would have practiced the compromised positions you inevitably find yourself in against bigger more experienced opponents you will face in competition in your own category and probably would have lost; but his good training attitude gave him the competition skills he needed to get to the finals in one of the most impressive debut performances in ADCC history. Remember always – A GOOD HEAVYWEIGHT CAN GET A GREAT WORKOUT IN A ROOMFUL OF LIGHTWEIGHTS AND A GOOD BLACK BELT CAN GET A GREAT WORKOUT IN A ROOMFUL OF WHITE BELTS.

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